The Obelisk Questionnaire: Francis Roberts of Old Man Wizard & King Gorm

Posted in Questionnaire on February 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

francis roberts

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Francis Roberts of Old Man Wizard, King Gorm, etc.

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

It’d take awhile to itemize it, but when I boil it down I basically look for new ways to have fun, and one of my favorite things to do is writing music. Right now I’m working on a new Old Man Wizard album (the songs are recorded! Now for the boring business side lol) and the first full-length Yaga-Shura album (that one is further away from being done). I’m toying with ideas for a second King Gorm release but that’s not really past the ideas phase. I’m focusing a great deal of my energy on my YouTube channel at the moment, too. I scored a portion of the upcoming film “The Spine of Night” which is the first feature-length film with my name in the credits!

Describe your first musical memory.

I may have it mixed up, but my parents either got me a toy guitar in Tijuana as a kid, a toy keyboard as a kid. After that it was recorder in school and then clarinet, and then generally not liking music for years before discovering the electric guitar as a teenager.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I have a few that are pretty close to a tie:

-hearing my songs on an LP for the first time (it’s cool every time, one of the best feelings).

-being told I have created someone’s favorite song or album (also amazing every time it happens).

-watching a theater of people who (mostly) didn’t speak my language trying to sing along with a song I wrote.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

When I was growing up I always firmly believed in the power of good, and that even the worst people can find ways to redeem themselves. Although I’m still an optimistic person, I no longer believe that.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

When executed purely, I think it leads to true honesty.

How do you define success?

Are you able to experience happiness regularly? You’re successful.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I typed out my answer, but even looking at it written down made me physically uncomfortable, so I’ve decided I’d rather not force you to read about it. Let’s just say that I’ve seen exactly one thing so fucking vile that I’d probably choose to erase the memory completely, given the choice. I guess it’d also be nice to unsee the entirety of whatever disgusting images people showed me in the early 2000s on rotten.com and other old internet nightmares like tubgirl.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A hobby I come back to from time to time is creating video games. At some point I hope I make one that I feel good enough about to share publicly.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

To inspire the imaginations of others (ideally leading to the creation of more art).

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Spending time with my friends. Visiting my dad’s new home when it’s safe to travel by plane.

https://www.facebook.com/Old.Man.Wizard/
http://twitter.com/oldmanwizard
https://www.instagram.com/oldmanwizard/
http://oldmanwizard.com/
https://www.facebook.com/king.gorm.usa/
https://www.instagram.com/king.gorm/
https://kinggorm.bandcamp.com/
https://francisroberts.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/f_c_r_
http://instagram.com/francisroberts

Francis Roberts, Story From Another Time (2020)

King Gorm, King Gorm (2020)

Old Man Wizard, Blame it all on Sorcery (2018)

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Live Stream Review: Earthless, Live in the Mojave Desert

Posted in Reviews on January 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

earthless live in the mojave desert

Godspeed, Earthless. You carry the hopes and thanks of a grateful nation of weirdos.

The on-paper proposition doesn’t really do justice to actually seeing nighttime desert rocks painted with light while Earthless tear a hole in the galaxy as only they seem able to do. Earthless, Live in the Mojave Desert, while accurate in terms of the basic who and what and where, hardly begins to cover it.

I have watched a number of show-replacement streams at this point. “Well, no concerts because pandemic, so here’s this.” That’s not what this was. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience shared with anyone who had the foresight to acquire a pass. I don’t mind telling you I got emotional. On the sheer level of sensory input, it was hard not to be overwhelmed.

So there’s Earthless — guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton, drummer Mario Rubalcaba — out by Skull Rock in the desert. There were shots of them riding out in the back of a pickup truck, answering interview questions and so on; extraordinarily idyllic to a very specific audience to see Mitchell rattle off a current-listening list upwards of 30 including Ry Cooter, Hendrix and Buddhist chanting. They started playing in daytime and seemed to cut until night, at which point Lance Gordon and the crew of the famed Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show came aboard and, together with the stage lighting, proceeded to color the night. Drone shots have perspective of the impressive scope of the event, and live audio by Dan Joeright of Gatos Trail Studio in Joshua Tree, not to mention mastering by John McBain, assured clarity at no loss of vitality.

It was, at the end, a work of love on the part of producer/director Ryan Jones, best known as one of the parties responsible for the Stoned and Dusted fest. This series of five streams that Earthless kicked off is more than just a show to watch for would-be real-life attendees. Sitting in my living room on a cold January afternoon, it was pure sonic escapism, made all the more resonant by the raw immersion of Earthless live. Something I’d probably never get to see otherwise, pandemic or not. It wasn’t trying to be a show happening in a dark venue somewhere. It was more like a hybrid concert and concert film, presented live in the new medium that the horror show of last year brought to prominence.

The production was flawless. And no, they weren’t actually live. I think it was filmed in November, but even as a streaming premiere, the work editing and splicing in visual effects and different shots only enhanced the viewing experience. Watching dudes perform to a single camera in their rehearsal room has a certain appeal to it, and I won’t say otherwise, but this was something special. Whether it was “Violence of the Red Sea” in daylight or “Sonic Prayer” and “Lost in the Cold Sun” closing out at night, it felt like a gift, a celebration honoring live music that, yeah, made you miss it, but managed to offer something of its own beyond that sad nostalgia for what’s been lost in the COVID era. Jones and his crew filming, the audio, lighting, tech people, the logistics work — it was all astounding to comprehend.

There will be four more, with NebulaSpirit MotherMountain Tamer and Stoner between now and the beginning of March. Then come the live albums, blu-rays, and so on. Without falling into some kind of “in this moment” cliché about the times humanity is living through — I guess the lucky ones are living, with upwards of 4,000 deaths per day — the fact of the matter is that even if gigs were happening, the Live in the Mojave Desert series would be something incredible to witness. If you saw this one on its first airing or you chase it down later, it is stuff of which legends are made. Recommended.

Earthless, “Sonic Prayer” snippet from Live in the Mojave Desert

Earthless on Thee Facebooks

Earthless on Twitter

Earthless on Instagram

Earthless on Bandcamp

Live in the Mojave Desert tickets at Tixr

California Desert Wizards Association website

California Desert Wizards Association Instagram

Stoned and Dusted on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Across Tundras, Motorpsycho, Dark Buddha Rising, Vine Weevil, King Chiefs, Battle Hag, Hyde, Faith in Jane, American Dharma, Hypernaut

Posted in Reviews on December 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Just to reiterate, I decided to do this Quarterly Review before making my year-end list because I felt like there was stuff I needed to hear that I hadn’t dug into. Here we are, 70 records later, and that’s still the case. My desktop is somewhat less cluttered than it was when I started out, but there’s still plenty of other albums, EPs, and so on I could and probably should be covering. It’s frustrating and encouraging at the same time, I guess. Fruscouraging. Life’s too short for the international boom of underground creativity.

Anyway, thanks for taking this ride if you did. It is always appreciated.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush

Across Tundras The Last Days of a Silver Rush

Issued as part of a late-2020 splurge by Tanner Olson and Across Tundras that has also resulted in the full-length LOESS – LÖSS (review here), as well as three lost-tracks compilations called Selected Sonic Rituals, an experimental Western drone record issued under the banner of Edward Outlander, and an EP and three singles (two collaborative) from Olson solo, The Last Days of a Silver Rush offers subdued complement to the more band-oriented LOESS – LÖSS, with an acoustic-folk foundation much more reminiscent of Olson‘s solo outings than the twang-infused progressive heavy rock for which Across Tundras are known. Indeed, though arrangements are fleshed out with samples and the electrified spaciousness of “The Prodigal Children of the God of War,” the only other contributor here is Ben Schriever on vocals and there are no drums to be found tying down the sweet strums and far-off melodies present. Could well be Olson bridging the gap between one modus (the band) and another (solo), and if so, fine. One way or the other it’s a strong batch of songs in the drifting western aesthetic he’s established. There’s nothing to say the next record will be the same or will be different. That’s why it’s fun.

Across Tundras on Bandcamp

Eagle Stone Collective on Bandcamp

 

Motorpsycho, The All is One

motorpsycho the all is one

What could possibly be left to say about the brilliance of Trondheim, Norway’s Motorpsycho? One only wishes that The All is One could be blasted into place on a pressed gold vinyl so that any aliens who might encounter it could know that humanity isn’t just all cruelty, plagues and indifference. The prolific heavy prog kingpins’ latest is 84 willfully-unmanageable minutes of graceful and gracious, hyperbole-ready sprawl, tapping into dynamic changes and arrangement depth that is both classic in character and still decidedly forward-thinking. An early rocker “The Same Old Rock (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)” and the shuffling “The Magpie” give way after the opener to the quiet “Delusion (The Reign of Humbug)” and the multi-stage “N.O.X.,” which unfolds in five parts, could easily have been an album on its own, and caps with a frenetic mania that is only off-putting because of how controlled it ultimately is. Then they throw in a couple experimental pieces after that between the nine-minute “Dreams of Fancy” and the mellow-vibing “Like Chrome.” Someday archaeologists will dig up the fossils of this civilization and wonder what gods this sect worshipped. Do they have three more records out yet? Probably.

Motorpsycho website

Stickman Records website

 

Dark Buddha Rising, Mathreyata

Dark Buddha Rising Mathreyata

From out of the weirdo hotbed that is Tampere, Finland, Dark Buddha Rising reemerge from the swirling ether with new lessons in black magique for anyone brave enough to be schooled. Mathreyata follows 2018’s II EP but is the band’s first full-length since 2015’s Inversum (review here), and from the initial cosmically expansive lurch of “Sunyaga” through the synth-laced atmosludge roll of “Nagathma” and the seven-minute build-to-abrasion that is “Uni” and the guess-what-now-that-abrasion-pays-off beginning of 15-minute closer “Mahatgata III,” which, yes, hits into some New Wavy guitar just before exploding just after nine minutes in, the band make a ritual pyre of expectation, genre and what one would commonly think of as psychedelia. Some acts are just on their own level, and while Dark Buddha Rising will always be too extreme for some and not everyone’s going to get it, their growing cult can only continue to be enthralled by what they accomplish here.

Dark Buddha Rising on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Vine Weevil, Sun in Your Eyes

vine weevil sun in your eyes

Together, brothers Yotam and Itamar Rubinger — guitar/vocals and drums, respectively — comprise London’s Vine Weevil. Issued early in 2020 preceded by a video for “You are the Ocean” (posted here), Sun in Your Eyes is the second album from the brothers, who are also both former members of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and in the watery title-track and the Beatles-circa-Revolver bounce of “Loose Canon” they bask in a folkish ’60s-style psychedelia, mellotron melodies adding to the classic atmosphere tipped with just an edge of Ween-style weirdness — it’s never so druggy, but that undercurrent is there. “You are the Ocean” hints toward heavy garage, but the acoustic/electric sentimentality of “My Friend” and the patient piano unfurling of “Lord of Flies” ahead of organ-led closer “The Shadow” are more indicative overall of the scope of this engaging, heartfelt and wistful 31-minute offering.

Vine Weevil on Thee Facebooks

Vine Weevil on Bandcamp

 

King Chiefs, Flying into Void

king chiefs flying into void

Since before their coronation — when they were just Chiefs — the greatest strength of San Diego heavy rockers King Chiefs has been their songwriting. They’ve never been an especially flashy band on a technical level, never over the top either direction tempo-wise, but they can write a melody, craft a feel in a three-or-four-minute track and tell any story they want to tell in that time in a way that leaves the listener satisfied. This is not a skill to be overlooked, and though on Flying into Void, the follow-up to 2018’s Blue Sonnet (review here), the album is almost entirely done by guitarist/vocalist Paul ValleJeff Podeszwik adds guitar as well — the energy, spirit and craft that typify King Chiefs‘ work is maintained. Quality heavy built on a foundation of grunge — a ’90s influence acknowledged in the cover art; dig that Super Nintendo — it comes with a full-band feel despite its mostly-solo nature and delivers 37 minutes of absolutely-pretense-free, clearheaded rock and roll. If you can’t get down with that, one seriously doubts that’ll stop King Chiefs anyhow.

King Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

King Chiefs webstore

 

Battle Hag, Celestial Tyrant

battle hag celestial tyrant

How doomed is Battle Hag‘s doom? Well, on Celestial Tyrant, it’s pretty damn doomed. The second long-player from the Sacramento, California-based outfit is comprised of three worth-calling-slabs slabs that run in succession from shortest to longest: “Eleusinian Sacrament” (12:47), “Talus” (13:12) and “Red Giant” (19:15), running a total of 45 minutes. Why yes, it is massive as fuck. The opener brings the first round of lurch and is just a little too filthy to be pure death-doom, despite the rainstorm cued in at its last minute, but “Talus” picks up gradually, hard-hit toms signaling the plod to come with the arrival of the central riff, which shows up sooner or later. Does the timestamp matter as much as the feeling of having your chest caved in? “Talus” hits into a speedier progression as it crosses over its second half, but it’s still raw vocally, and the plod returns at the end — gloriously. At 19 minutes “Red Giant” is also the most dynamic of the three cuts, dropping after its up-front lumber and faster solo section into a quiet stretch before spending the remaining eight minutes devoted to grueling extremity and devolution to low static noise. There’s just enough sludge here to position Battle Hag in a niche between microgenres, and the individuality that results is as weighted as their tones.

Battle Hag on Thee Facebooks

Transylvanian Tapes on Bandcamp

 

Hyde, Hyde

hyde hyde

It might take a few listens to sink in — and hey, it might not — but Parisian trio Hyde are up to some deceptively intricate shenanigans on their self-titled debut LP. On their face, a riff like that of second cut “Black Phillip” or “DWAGB” — on which The Big Lebowski is sampled — aren’t revolutionary, but the atmospheric purpose to which they’re being put is more brooding than the band give themselves credit for. They call it desert-influenced, but languid tempos, gruff vocals coated in echo, spacious guitar and rhythmic largesse all come together to give Hyde‘s Hyde a darker, brooding atmosphere than it might at first seem, and even opener “The Victim” and the penultimate “The Barber of Pitlochry” — the only two songs under five minutes long — manage to dig into this vibe. Of course, the 11-minute closing eponymous track — that is, “Hyde,” by Hyde, on Hyde — goes even further, finding its way into psychedelic meandering after its chugging launch rings out, only to roll heavy in its last push, ending with start-stop thud and a long fade. Worth the effort of engaging on its own level, Hyde‘s first full-length heralds even further growth going forward.

Hyde on Thee Facebooks

Hyde on Bandcamp

 

Faith in Jane, Mother to Earth

Faith in Jane Mother to Earth

Maryland’s best kept secret in heavy rock remain wildly undervalued, but that doesn’t stop power trio Faith in Jane from exploring cosmic existentialism on Mother to Earth even as they likewise broaden the expanse of their grooving, bluesy dynamic. “The Circle” opens in passionate form followed by the crawling launch of “Gone are the Days,” and whether it’s the tempest brought to bear in the instrumental “Weight of a Dream” or the light-stepping jam in the middle of the title-track, the soaring solo from guitarist/vocalist Dan Mize on the subsequent “Nature’s Daughter” or the creeper-chug on “Universal Mind,” the cello guest spot on “Lonesome” and the homage to a party unknown (Chesapeake heavy has had its losses these last few years, to say nothing of anyone’s personal experience) in closer “We’ll Be Missing You,” Mize, bassist Brendan Winston and drummer Alex Llewellyn put on a clinic in vibrancy and showcase the classic-style chemistry that’s made them a treasure of their scene. I still say they need to tour for three years and not look back, but if it’s 56 minutes of new material instead, things could be far worse.

Faith in Jane on Thee Facebooks

Faith in Jane on Bandcamp

 

American Dharma, Cosmosis

American Dharma COSMOSIS

Newcomer four-piece American Dharma want nothing for ambition on their 70-minute debut, Cosmosis, bringing together progressive heavy rock, punk and doom, grunge and hardcore punk, but the Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, outfit are somewhat held back by a rawness of production pulling back from the spaces the songs might otherwise create. A bona fide preach at the outset of “Damaged Coda” is a break early on, but the guitars and bass want low end throughout much of the 14-song proceedings, and the vocals cut through with no problem but are mostly dry even when layered or show the presence of a guest, as on closer “You.” Actually, if you told me the whole thing was recorded live and intended as a live album, I’d believe it, but for a unit who do so well in pulling together elements of different styles in their songwriting and appear to have so much to say, their proggier leanings get lost when they might otherwise be highlighted. Now, it’s a self-released debut coming out during a global pandemic, so there’s context worth remembering, but for as much reach as American Dharma show in their songs, their presentation needs to move into alignment with that.

American Dharma on Thee Facebooks

American Dharma on Bandcamp

 

Hypernaut, Ozymandias

hypernaut ozymandias

Call it a burner, call it a corker, call it whatever you want, I seriously doubt Lima, Peru’s Hypernaut are sticking around to find out how you tag their debut album, Ozymandias. The nine-song/38-minute release pulls from punk with some of its forward-thrusting verses like “(This Is Where I) Draw the Line” or “Cynicism is Self-Harm,” but there’s metal there and in the closing title-cut as well that remains part of the atmosphere no matter how brash it might otherwise get. Spacey melodies, Sabbathian roll on “Multiverse… Battleworld” (“Hole in the Sky” walks by and waves), and a nigh-on-Devo quirk in the rhythm of “Atomic Breath” all bring to mind Iowan outliers Bloodcow, but that’s more likely sonic coincidence than direct influence, and one way or the other, Hypernaut‘s “Ozymandias” sets up a multifaceted push all through its span to its maddening, hypnotic finish, but the real danger of the thing is what this band might do if they continue on this trajectory for a few more records.

Hypernaut on Thee Facebooks

Hypernaut on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: -(16)-, BoneHawk, DÖ, Howling Giant & Sergeant Thunderhoof, Chimney Creeps, Kingnomad, Shores of Null, The Device, Domo, Early Moods

Posted in Reviews on December 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

I just decided how long this Quarterly Review is actually going to be. It’s seven days, then I’ll do my year-end list and the poll results on New Year’s Eve and Day, respectively. That’s the plan. Though honestly, I might pick up after that weekend and continue QR-style for that next week. There’s a lot more to cover, I think. The amount of releases this year has been pretty insane and completely overwhelming. I’ve tried to keep up as best I can and clearly have failed in that regard or I probably wouldn’t be so swamped now. So it goes. One way or the other, I don’t think a lot of emails are getting answered for the next two weeks, though I’ll try to keep up with that too.

But anyhow, that’s what’s up. Here’s Day II (because this is the QR where I do Roman numerals for absolutely no reason).

Quarterly Review #11-20:

16, Dream Squasher

16 Dream Squasher

The fourth long-player since 16‘s studio return with 2009’s Bridges to Burn, the 10-track Dream Squasher begins with tales of love for kid and dog, respectively. The latter might be the sweetest lyrics I’ve ever read for something that’s still bludgeoning sludge — said dog also gets a mention amid the ultra-lumbering chug and samples of “Acid Tongue” — and it’s worth mentioning that as the Cali intensity institution nears 30 years since their start in 1991, they’re branching out in theme and craft alike, as the melody of the organ-laced “Sadlands” shows. There’s even some harmonica in “Agora (Killed by a Mountain Lion),” though it’s soon enough swallowed by pummel and the violent punk of “Ride the Waves” follows. “Summer of ’96” plays off Bryan Adams for another bit of familial love, while closing duo “Screw Unto Others” and “Kissing the Choir Boy” indict capitalist and religious figureheads in succession amid weighted plod and seething anger, the band oddly in their element in this meld of ups, downs and slaughter.

16 on Thee Facebooks

16 at Relapse Records

 

BoneHawk, Iron Mountain

bonehawk iron mountain

Kalamazoo four-piece BoneHawk make an awaited follow-up to their 2014 debut, Albino Rhino (discussed here), in the form of Iron Mountain, thereby reminding listeners why it’s been awaited in the first place. Solid, dual-guitar, newer-school post-The Sword heavy rock. Second cut “Summit Fever” reminds a bit of Valley of the Sun and Freedom Hawk, but neither is a bad echelon of acts to stand among, and the open melodies of the subsequent title-track and the later “Fire Lake” do much to distinguish BoneHawk along the way. The winding lead lines of centerpiece “Wildfire” offer due drama in their apex, and “Thunder Child” and “Future Mind” are both catchy enough to keep momentum rolling into the eight-minute closer “Lake of the Clouds,” which caps with due breadth and, yes, is the second song on the record about a lake. That’s how they do in Michigan and that’s just fine.

BoneHawk on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

DÖ, Black Hole Mass

do black hole mass

follow the Valborg example of lumbering barking extremity into a cosmic abyss on their Black Hole Mass three-songer, emitting charred roll like it’s interstellar background radiation and still managing to give an underlying sense of structure to proceedings vast and encompassing. “Gravity Sacrifice” and “Plasma “Psalm” are right on in their teeth-grinding shove, but it’s the 10-minute finale “Radiation Blessing” that steals my heart with its trippy break in the middle, sample, drifting guitar and all, as the Finnish trio build gradually back up to a massive march all the more effective for the atmosphere they’ve constructed around it. Construction, as it happens, is the underlying strength of Black Hole Mass, since it’s the firm sense of structure beneath their songs that allows them to so ably engage their dark matter metal over the course of these 22 minutes, but it’s done so smoothly one hardly thinks about it while listening. Instead, the best thing to do is go along for the ride, brief as it is, or at least bow head in appreciation to the ceremony as it trods across rigid stylistic dogma.

DÖ on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Howling Giant & Sergeant Thunderhoof, Turned to Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa

turned to stone chapter 2 howling giant sergeant thunderhoof

Let this be a lesson to, well, everyone. This is how you do a conceptual split. Two bands getting together around a central idea — in this case, Tennessee’s Howling Giant and UK’s Sergeant Thunderhoof — both composing single tracks long enough to consume a vinyl side and expanding their reach not only to work with each other but further their own progressive sonic ideologies. Ripple Music‘s Turned to Stone split series is going to have a tough one to top in Masamune & Muramasa, as Howling Giant utterly shine in “Masamune” and the rougher-hewn tonality of Sergeant Thunderhoof‘s “Maramasa” makes an exceptional complement. Running about 41 minutes, the release is a journey through dynamic, with each act pushing their songwriting beyond prior limits in order to meet the occasion head-on and in grand fashion. They do, and the split easily stands among the best of 2020’s short releases as a result. If you want to hear where heavy rock is going, look no further.

Howling Giant on Thee Facebooks

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Chimney Creeps, Nosedive

chimney creeps nosedive

Punkish shouts over dense noise rock tones, New York trio Chimney Creeps make their full-length debut with Nosedive, which they’ve self-released on vinyl. The album runs through seven tracks, and once it gets through the straight-ahead heavy punk of “March of the Creeps” and “Head in the Sand” at the outset, the palette begins to broaden in the fuzzy and gruff “Unholy Cow,” with the deceptively catchy “Splinter” following. “Creeper” and “Satisfied” before it are longer and accordingly more atmospheric, with a truck-backing-up sample at the start of “Creeper” that would seem to remind listeners just where the band’s sound has put them: out back, around the loading dock. Fair enough as “Diving Line” wraps in accordingly workmanlike fashion, the vocals cutting through clearly as they have all the while, prominent in the mix in a way that asks for balance. “Bright” I believe is the word an engineer might use, but the vocals stand out, is the bottom line, and thereby assure that the aggressive stance of the band comes across as more than a put-on.

Chimney Creeps on Thee Facebooks

Chimney Creeps on Bandcamp

 

Kingnomad, Sagan Om Rymden

Kingnomad - Sagan Om Rymden

Kingnomad‘s third album, Sagan Om Rymden certainly wants nothing for scope or ambition, setting its progressive tone with still-hooky opener “Omniverse,” before unfurling the more patient chug in “Small Beginnings” and taking on such weighted (anti-)matter as “Multiverse” and “The Creation Hymn” and “The Unanswered Question” later on. Along the way, the Swedish troupe nod at Ghost-style melodicism, Graveyard-ish heavy blues boogie — in “The Omega Experiment,” no less — progressive, psychedelic and heavy rocks and no less than the cosmos itself, as the Carl Sagan reference in the record’s title seems to inform the space-based mythology expressed and solidified within the songs. Even the acoustic-led interlude-plus “The Fermi Paradox” finds room to harmonize vocals and prove a massive step forward for the band. 2018’s The Great Nothing (review here) and 2017’s debut, Mapping the Inner Void (review here), were each more accomplished than the last, but Sagan Om Rymden is just a different level. It puts Kingnomad in a different class of band.

Kingnomad on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)

Shores of Null Beyond the Shores On Death and Dying

By the time Shores of Null are nine minutes into the single 38-minute track that makes up their third album, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying), they would seem to have unveiled at least four of the five vocalists who appear throughout the proceedings, with the band’s own Davide Straccione joined by Swallow the Sun‘s Mikko Kotamäki as well as Thomas A.G. Jensen (Saturnus), Martina Lesley Guidi (of Rome’s Traffic Club) and Elisabetta Marchetti (INNO). There are guests on violin, piano and double-bass as well, so the very least one might say is that Shores of Null aren’t kidding around when they’re talking about this record in a sense of being ‘beyond’ themselves. The journey isn’t hindered so much as bolstered by the ambition, however, and the core five-piece maintain a steady presence throughout, serving collectively as the uniting factor as “Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)” moves through its portrayal of the stages of grief in according movements of songcraft, gorgeously-arranged and richly composed as they are as they head toward the final storm. In what’s been an exceptional year for death-doom, Shores of Null still stand out for the work they’ve done.

Shores of Null on Thee Facebooks

Spikerot Records website

 

The Device, Tribute Album

the device tribute album

Tectonic sludge has become a mainstay in Polish heavy, and The Device, about whom precious little is known other than they’re very, very, very heavy when they want to be, add welcome atmospherics to the lumbering weedian procession. “Rise of the Device” begins the 47-minute Tribute Album in crushing form, but “Ritual” and the first minute or so of “BongOver” space out with droney minimalism, before the latter track — the centerpiece of the five-songer and only cut under six minutes long at 2:42 — explodes in consuming lurch. “Indica” plays out this structure again over a longer stretch, capping with birdsong and whispers and noise after quiet guitar and hypnotic, weighted riffing have played back and forth, but it’s in the 23-minute closer “Exhale” that the band finds their purpose, a live-sounding final jam picking up after a long droning stretch to finish the record with a groove that, indeed, feels like a release in the playing and the hearing. Someone’s speaking at the end but the words are obscured by echo, and to be sure, The Device have gotten their point across by then anyhow. The stark divisions between loud and quiet on Tribute Album are interesting, as well as what the band might do to cover the in-between going forward.

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Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2

Domo Domonautas Vol 2

Spanish progressive heavy psychedelic semi-instrumentalists Domo follow late-2019’s Domonautas Vol. 1 (review here) with a four-song second installment, and Domonautas Vol. 2 answers its predecessor back with the jazz-into-doom of “Avasaxa” (7:43) and the meditation in “Dolmen” (13:50) on side A, and the quick intro-to-the-intro “El Altar” (2:06) and the 15-minute “Vientohalcón” on side B, each piece working with its own sense of motion and its own feeling of progression from one movement to the next, never rushed, never overly patient, but smooth and organic in execution even in its most active or heaviest stretches. The two most extended pieces offer particular joys, but neither should one discount the quirky rhythm at the outset of “Avasaxa” or the dramatic turn it makes just before five minutes in from meandering guitar noodling to plodding riffery, if only because it sounds like Domo are having so much fun catching the listener off guard. Exactly as they should be.

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Early Moods, Spellbound

early moods spellbound

Doom be thy name. Or, I guess Early Moods be thy name, but doom definitely be thy game. The Los Angeles four-piece make their debut with the 26-minute Spellbound, and I suppose it’s an EP, but the raw Pentagram worship on display in the opening title-track and the Sabbath-ism that ensues flows easy and comes through with enough sincerity of purpose that if the band wanted to call it a full-length, one could hardly argue. Guitar heads will note the unbridled scorch of the solos throughout — centerpiece “Isolated” moves from one into a slow-Slayer riff that’s somehow also Candlemass, which is a feat in itself — while “Desire” rumbles with low-end distortion that calls to mind Entombed even as the vocals over top are almost pure Witchcraft. They save the most engaging melody for the finale “Living Hell,” but even that’s plenty grim and suited to its accompanying dirt-caked feel. Rough in production, but not lacking clarity, Spellbound entices and hints at things to come, but has a barebones appeal all its own as well.

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Francis Roberts Sets Nov. 6 Release for Story From Another Time

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

francis roberts

Being released exclusively as a tape and a download on Nov. 6, Story From Another Time is not at all the first 2020 release from Old Man Wizard and King Gorm guitarist/vocalist Francis Roberts to be put out under his own name. To trawl through his Bandcamp is to fine a swath of recent live and home-recorded offerings based around weaving soundscapes from synth and electric guitar, but the prolific nature of Roberts‘ work is befitting the form of what he’s doing — as well as someone with home recording capability stuck this year in a pandemic lockdown — and the atmosphere in which he’s operating is cinematic enough that he’s doing actual soundtracks and scores at this point.

Dude keeps busy though — and if you didn’t hear the King Gorm self-titled (review here) earlier this year, you should do that too — but one of the two 18-minute tracks on Story From Another Time is streaming now, and tapes are limited to 33 copies, so as far as I’m concerned, this is a good time.

Word came from the PR wire thusly:

francis roberts story from another time

FRANCIS ROBERTS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM

Known for his work in Old Man Wizard and King Gorm, producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Francis Roberts will release the cinemtatic album Story From Another Time on November 6th in digital and cassette formats. The two tracks, each over eighteen minutes long, are described as ” a film score for your imagination” — and they do indeed transport listeners to “another time.”

Roberts said of the album, ” I wrote and recorded this a few months ago, inspired by additional material and concepts that didn’t make it into my score for a portion of the forthcoming film The Spine of Night. I was so pleased with the result that I decided I had to let it sit while I planned a more proper release. I did this to push the limits of my ability to compose campy 1970s style cinematic music. It’s one of my favorite recordings I’ve created.”

“I used pretty much all of my synthesizers and samplers to record it, with the basis of side one being a heavily edited and resampled guitar improvisation and the basis of side two being seemingly endless string loops and bizarre Berlin school style sequences. The album artwork is from a painting called Slayer of the Old Wyrm by Valin Mattheis, one of my favorite currently active artists (whose work you may recognize from my releases with Old Man Wizard). The album will be available digitally and as a very limited cassette (33 copies).”

Preorder the album on bandcamp: https://francisroberts.bandcamp.com/album/story-from-another-time

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Francis Roberts, Story From Another Time (2020)

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Album Review: Ellis/Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions

Posted in Reviews on July 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Ellis Munk Ensemble San Diego Sessions

And a significant ensemble it is. Traveling from his native Denmark to San Diego, California, guitarist Jonas Munk of heavy psych innovators Causa Sui was set to meet up in Sept. 2019 with Brian Ellis (Astra, Psicomagia, Birth, etc.) whose solo work has been issued through Causa Sui‘s label, El Paraiso Records. By the account in the liner notes for the release, it wasn’t the first time Munk made the trip, but it would seem to have been an occasion nonetheless, as Munk and Ellis, based in Escondido, were to spearhead what has been tagged as the Ellis/Munk Ensemble featuring players from bands like Radio Mosow, Sacri Monti, Psicomagia, Joy and others. It’s a pretty extensive roster. To wit:

Brian Ellis (keys) – Astra, Silver Sunshine, Brian Ellis Group, Psicomagia, Birth, etc.
Jonas Munk (guitar) – Causa Sui, various solo-projects and collaborations

Plus:
Dominic Denholm (bass) – Monarch
Thomas DiBenedetto (drums/guitar) – Sacri Monti, Monarch, ex-Joy
Dylan Donovan (guitar) – Sacri Monti, Pharlee
Paul Marrone (drums) – Astra, Cosmic Wheels, Radio Moscow, Psicomagia, Birth, Brian Ellis Group
Trevor Mast (bass) – Birth, ex-Joy, Psicomagia, Brian Ellis Group
Anthony Meier (bass/keys) – Sacri Monti, Radio Moscow
Conor Riley (keys) – Astra, Silver Sunshine, Birth
Andrew Velasco (percussion) – Love, the City & Space
Andrew Ware (drums) – Monarch
Evan Wenskay (organ) – Sacri Monti
Kyre Wilcox (bass) – Truth on Earth

The most striking thing about this lineup — aside from the fact that among the 12 participants, there are no women — is the sheer amount of overlap. Members of Sacri Monti playing in Monarch and Joy, members of Astra resurfacing in Birth, and so on. Like any scene worthy of the designation, San Diego is plenty incestuous, but in no small part that’s essential to what makes it the heavy psych haven it’s become. The entire situation is fluid, so how could the music be anything else?

With Munk‘s arrival in town as impetus for the get-together, San Diego Sessions arrives (via El Paraiso) as seven tracks/48 minutes carved out from these several evenings’ worth of jams and fits with Munk and Ellis‘ apparently shared vision of the stylistic interaction between psychedelia and jazz. Indeed, the stated comparison is to Miles Davis‘ Bitches Brew, and track titles like “Pauly’s Pentacles,” “Munk’s Dream” — as opposed to “Monk’s Dream,” i.e. Thelonius Monk — and “Larry’s Jungle Juice” honor that tradition as well, as does the immediate thrust and twist of 10-plus-minute opener “The Wedge,” which features eight players, three of whom are on keys, and sets a tone with scorching runs of lead guitar atop intricate rhythmic turns.

ellis munk ensemble personnel

One thing: they picked their drummers right. In MarroneDiBenedetto and Ware, the Ellis/Munk Ensemble — whoever else happens to be around at any given moment — have some of the best San Diego’s underground has to offer on board when it comes to drums, Mario Rubalcaba of Earthless notwithstanding. With this foundation, guitarists like Munk — who appears on every track except the penultimate madcap freakout “Larry’s Jungle Juice”; Ellis likewise sits out the brief but spacious “Munk’s Dream” — Donovan and DiBenedetto are able to freely explore various reaches and textures of sound, and so the variety of San Diego Sessions stems as much from its sonic moods as from its personnel.

Still, much of the tone — and much of the album, frankly — happens at the outset with “The Wedge” and “Pauly’s Pentacles.” As the latter tops 11 minutes, the two songs comprise 22 of the total 48-minute stretch here, so not an insignificant portion, and more important, it’s in them that the spirit of San Diego Sessions is established in looking toward the aforementioned tradition of the jazz session. “The Wedge” locks in a solid groove early before spinning heads with guitar and keys alike, and “Pauly’s Pentacles” turns more mellow lead vibes into a vibrant apex ahead of dipping into a bit of cosmic funk, the drifting end of which is a suitable transition into the ethereal “Munk’s Dream” — the shortest inclusion at just 2:24 but an atmospheric highlight nonetheless.

By the time, then, that they dip into album-centerpiece “Electric Saloon,” which runs just under nine minutes long, the expectation is wide open for what might actually take place within that span of time but set in the sphere of heavy psychedelic improv. “Bucket Drips,” which follows, is another more meditative vibe, so “Electric Saloon” is given a mindful showcase, led into and out of as it is. It’s a two-sided LP and certainly there’s a flow across the span as one jam ends or fades out and the next arrives, but one might think of San Diego Sessions as taking place in three distinct movements: the opening two, the middle three, and the finishing two. Elements of personality drift in and out along the way — much like the people — but the way in which the pieces complement each other, right up to how the finishing chase of “Larry’s Jungle Juice” gives way to the smoother procession of “Stone Steps” to close out with a relative wash of keys, is such that each chapter has something of its own to offer the listener.

There is further nuance to how the pieces are arranged and how they bleed from one to the next that one might point out, but what that goes to underscore is the fact that San Diego Sessions has been carved out from the raw material that emerged over those nights. It’s got its warts-and-all feel intact, but one assumes there was more recorded than appears in the completed product. Maybe that means a San Diego Sessions 2 is in the offing, or maybe these were all the highlights; I don’t know. But Ellis/Munk Ensemble captures a special stretch of time when talented players — many of whom already had established chemistry from years of collaboration in various bands — joined together to welcome a friend into the fold.

The instrumental and improvisational nature of the record might mean that not every listener is up for making the trip, but what comes through most of all in the tracks is the feeling of celebration, of challenging each other, of playing with sound and technique like the implements of magic they are, and of enjoying all of it. That atmosphere is infectious.

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Friday Full-Length: Author & Punisher, Beastland

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The apocalyptic intensity conjured by San Diego one-man machine-doom/industrial outfit Author & Punisher has garnered praise far and wide over the better part of the last decade, and certainly the fact that Tristan Shone started the project over 15 years ago and has had a broad influence on the current heavy underground fascination with industrial sounds is a part of why. When it comes to artists and bands so hyped, as Author & Punisher has been at least since Ursus Americanus and Women & Children came out on Seventh Rule and more people began to experience it live, with Shone‘s homemade-or-at-least-workshop-made “drone machines” taking the place of instruments and serving rhythmic and melodic functions while he shouts into a custom vocal processor — quite a sight — my immediate response is to shut it out. The thing about most hyperbole? It’s bullshit. And very often it’s not so much about the artist involved as the person writing wanting to be ‘the one who said so.’ It is as much ego on the part of writer as it is plaudit of the work, and I think it’s gross. Total turnoff, and as a result, I’m less inclined to really dig into an album or whatever it is because, well, ugh, so chic.

Am I always right? Nope. But the thing about music is it’s not a race to be first to find a thing, and once a record’s out, it’ll still be there after the fever-pitch has come down a bit. There’s a certain freedom in being late to the party. Thus it is that I’ve recently taken on Author & Punisher‘s Beastland, which is positioned as Shone‘s sixth long-player (though I’m not sure how that count actually works). Issued in 2018 as a first offering through Relapse Records, it is a smartly-executed eight-track/36-minute collection that wastes neither its own nor your time, and Shone‘s connection to doom can be felt not so much in the audio itself — though certainly the sounds he makes are weighted, sometimes cruelly so — but author and punisher beastlandin the structures and traditions he’s following. As one might expect, there’s a good deal of influence from Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails to be felt throughout — and how Reznor isn’t beating down Shone‘s door to collaborate, I don’t know — but the lumbering tempos that punctuate most of Beastland, from “Pharmacide” and the shouty single “Nihil Strength” into the noise-soaked “Ode to Bedlam” onward, certainly offer a thread. Also a threat. Further, the fullness of sound and depth of the mix, Shone‘s vocals being alternately buried and at the fore, sometimes switching in the span of a lyric, as on “Ode to Bedlam,” which is the shortest inclusion at 3:29 and soon devolves into noise and drone before building back as a transition to the more melodic centerpiece duo “The Speaker is Systematically Blown” and “Nazarene,” both of which dare to be catchy and soaring in their duly-blown-out melody, more brazenly so even than “Nihil Strength,” the very beat of which is a hook unto itself.

And like a more traditional doom record, as Beastland moves into side B, the palette expands, from the angularity and atmosphere of “Apparition” into the closing pair “Night Terror” and “Beastland” itself, the former which dons a techno siren at the outset and moves into a steady hum and roll that cycle through and pull apart in a way that feels built outward from the false restart at the end of “Nazarene,” and the latter title-track which is more purely a work of ambient noisy chaos, still set to a beat as much of it is. “Night Terror” and “Beastland” both top six minutes, with the finale echoing Blade Runner in its echoing keyboard melodies like ethereal horns sounding, even as static grit underlies and Shone‘s voice follows the notes. Beastland ends with a churn and a plod that fades into what seems to be a last grunted exhale, which runs counter to the kind of inhuman(e) aural assault that much of the record has provided but is a reminder nonetheless that there’s a person behind the operation of all these robotics and all these willfully horrifying sounds.

If you’ve ever seen Author & Punisher, you probably don’t need me to describe what it’s like, with Shone surrounded by these machines of his own making, becoming the machine himself, etc., layers on layers of multimedia metaphor. I’m not inclined to add to the din of praise that’s been heaped on dude for the last however long — though by all accounts I’ve heard, he’s a nice guy, and the very, very least one can say of his work is that it’s innovative, and that’s before you get to the quality of the songcraft, which is palpable in a manner beyond whatever novelty of the individualized aesthetic — but the influence he’s had on others is plain to hear in these songs, and as bands and groups pick up on Shone‘s ends, if not the means, and hopefully adapt that to their own styles, that only stands Author & Punisher out as all the more singular. What strikes me about listening to it rather than watching it, though, isn’t the forward nature of the aggression. That’s there, sure enough, but it’s the methodical feel of so much of what Shone brings to bear. By its nature, you can’t really call Author & Punisher raw in how it’s made — it would seem just to require too much effort, as opposed to plugging in a guitar and letting rip — but there is a drive toward the primal in some of the underlying simplicity of the beats, that when you strip away all the surrounding and sometimes overwhelming cacophony, feels markedly and purposefully primitive. Organic? Maybe.

Maybe that’s Shone himself serving as the unifying presence in what he calls his ‘control room.’ Fair enough. Shone is set to tour Europe in January with Igorrr, though of course life itself remains a shrug-and-wait-and-see kind of deal for the time being, so Author & Punisher has opted to share videos from a recent tour opening for Tool instead. As to what comes next, if it’s more dystopia, at least I know whose records to put on.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

The mornings have become a challenge, though perhaps not as much of one as they could be. The Pecan has been waking up around 6:30, which feels like a gift. General process is The Patient Mrs. gets the puppy — Omi; now permanent title, short for Iommi — and I get him. She takes dog out, I change a usually-poop-filled diaper. Potty training is a process. Anyway, it’s when she comes back in with the dog that he gets super-excited, then the dog gets excited, and the energy feedback loop ignites. Once he’s cleaned up, he goes where he goes, and inevitably, he’s going for the dog. But he’s still two — that’s exactly how my wife and I say it: still two; it has been a very long year — and so can’t really handle it. He gets worked up, gets worried, then inevitably swats at or kicks at Omi and, yeah, that shit just doesn’t work for me.

Yesterday and today, she stayed in the kitchen while I made him breakfast before coming to work on this post, and The Patient Mrs. and I have been switching off one and the other. It’s easier to get work done with the dog than the kid, so whoever’s working has Omi and whoever’s got The Pecan has The Pecan. That’s her right now. I’ll go in the other room in a little bit and trade off so she can work, and she’ll take the dog. It’s not so cut and dry as all that — most of the time I give him breakfast since he eats better for me; I’m not shy about shoving food in his mouth — but it’s Friday and she knows I like to end the week early, so I am grateful for the chance to bang this out.

Dog’s asleep somewhere in this room. Kid’ll get a bath in a bit — I took a break from writing during the second-to-last paragraph of the Author & Punisher writeup above (could you tell?) and we went for a run, which now that it’s pouring rain, I’m glad we did — so I’ll handle that and hopefully The Patient Mrs. doesn’t get saddled with too much what we call “puppy time” and usually seems to involve chewed shoes, feet, or furniture, or peeing on the floor.

The key to little things — dogs or people — is wearing them out. Walks for the dog, runs for the kid. Fine in the summer, though I guess we made it through this winter, and plague-permitting we’ll make it through the next. I have a bit before I need to worry about it, anyhow.

I hope you and yours are well. I’ve been struggling with having put on a bit of weight, and trying to manage that while at the same time dealing with other stresses. All anxiousness immediately goes to food/body image for me, which, if I needed further proof of disordered eating, there it is. Didn’t need that proof.

So.

My father fell on July 3 and has been in the hospital since then, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He’s 77, I think. He was planning to move from nearby his sister in North Carolina to Allentown to be close to other friends and live in a retirement community. This was a move I advised against voraciously and was ignored. My mother, same on one of the rare occasions they spoke. Ahead of his move, he was staying with a friend and fell backwards down a flight of stairs. Portrait of an old man, falling.

Okay.

Among my family — and given the further-than-arm’s-length nature of our relationship, this feels surreal to say — I am probably the one in recent years who has been most in touch with him. We communicate semi-regularly. We have nothing much in common beyond blood and name — though the older I get… — but we keep it light, avoid politics or discussion of my mother or sister when possible, and there you go. He’s shown increasing signs of dementia over the last few years — he forgot he met my son, for example — and since his fall has been what the hospital case worker described to me as “confused.” He doesn’t know where he is, doesn’t always know what year it is or who he is.

Okay.

Though he and my mother have been separated for the last 25 years, they’ve never officially divorced. Why? I don’t know. Holdover stigma? My mother, a teacher 11 years retired, has decent state insurance and has kept him on it all this time, but because the American healthcare system is fucked — something COVID has only aggravated — Medicaid can maybe go after her assets to cover the cost of longterm care, which he’ll need since he has to relearn how to walk, and this lengthy hospital stay. This week, we all got on Zoom with a divorce attorney. I was writing the Turtle Skull news post on Wednesday when that happened; it just finally went up today. It’s been a lot.

But okay.

Court appoints a custodian once it’s proved my father is non compos mentis, which should not be a challenge, and I guess everything moves forward at a snail’s pace there. In the meantime, The Patient Mrs. and I have started mortgage proceedings to buy the house we live in from my mother, who inherited it from my grandmother, so there’s that additional layer of something-happening over the last couple weeks, which along with puppy, kid, pandemic, fascism, on and on and on and on, has meant that, among other things, I was feeling too overwhelmed to put together a Gimme Radio show this week.

It’ll be back on in two weeks.

Okay.

I’m exhausted now, so I must be finished, and in any case, it’s time for me to trade off dog for kid with The Patient Mrs., who has more than earned that title during this period. My only regret is not calling her The Brilliant Mrs., because even more than her patience with me — which is ample — it is the continued light she shines that makes my life possible. I have said this before and will continue to say it until I die: she is the center around which my universe spins.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please be well most of all, and thank you for reading, whether or not you still are.

FRM.

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Monarch Post “Face to Face” Video; Release Enough’s Enough: Live at Steel Mill

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

monarch

This February, San Diego’s Monarch announced their first-ever European tour dates. The San Diego-based band would’ve just been the latest export from their hometown’s enviable — and envied — heavy psychedelic underground scene, and they would’ve headed abroad supporting their 2019 offering, Beyond the Blue Sky (review here), which of course was their second album through Denmark’s El Paraiso Records behind 2017’s Two Isles (review here). As part of that run, they would have taken part in Tube Cult Festival in Italy, Desertfest in London, and I know I was looking forward to seeing them at Esbjerg Fuzztival in Denmark, where they’d have shared the stage with their label heads in Causa Sui and others.

Those plans, naturally, went the way of everyone’s plans for anything in the first half of 2020, and though Monarch are currently listed as taking part in Finland’s Sonic Rites Festival on Oct. 30-31 and may have more tour dates surfacing around that, monarch enoughs enough live at steel millit was still one of the multitudes of the bummers of this past Spring to see their tour come apart. So. It. Goes.

As civil unrest across the United States has not-inappropriately taken precedent over the that pesky pandemic (that just because it’s not the top story anymore has stubbornly not stopped killing people), Monarch have chosen to take part in raising funds for Black Lives Matter by posting the new four-song live performance titled simply Enough’s Enough: Live at Steel Mill recorded in San Diego at Steel Mill Coffee, which is owned by pro skaters Riley Hawk and Shea CooperHawk also took part in filming the new video for “Face to Face” that you can see below. The song is more recent even than Beyond the Blue Sky, so Enough’s Enough is a chance to get a sneak peak at the next stage in Monarch‘s evolution, but to hear live versions of “Assent” from Two Isles and “Pangea” and “Felo De Se” from the second record, supporting a good cause with good prog. You can’t really go wrong there.

I don’t know Monarch‘s plans for their next record, if anyone’s daring to plan for anything at this point, but “Face to Face” is a most welcome eight minutes of prog-psych escapism, further distinguishing Monarch‘s personality as a band among the classic minded vibemakers from the City in Motion.

Video and stream both follow below. 100 percent of the $20 for the live album download goes to Black Lives Matter.

Enjoy:

Monarch, “Face to Face” official video

Been a while since we’ve made any noise here but today we break our silence! Announcing the release of a new live recording “ Enough’s Enough “ Live Steel Mill Coffee paired alongside a video for our newest song “ Face to Face”….

This release is available on our bandcamp – https://monarch4.bandcamp.com/album/enoughs-enough-live-at-steel-mill paired with a limited run of t-shirts w/art done by @hartchaseman.

100% of proceeds from the record & shirts will be donated to Black Lives Matter in the fight against racial injustice and police brutality ! Huge shout out to @rileyhawk @justsomedude @paconertz for the camera work, enjoy!

Filmed by : Jacob Nunez, Riley Hawk, Lannie Rhoades
Edited by : Jacob Nunez
Mixed by : Dominic Denholm
Mastered by : Mike Tholen

Monarch is:
Dominic Denholm – Guitar/Vocals
Thomas Dibenedetto – Guitar
James Upton – Guitar
Matt Weiss – Bass
Andrew Ware – Drums

Monarch, Enough’s Enough: Live at Steel Mill (2020)

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